Almost one year ago Gearbox Software released what is quite possibly the most disappointing title of the past generation. Aliens: Colonial Marines was a mess of gargantuan proportions, riddled with bugs and bearing little resemblance to the title people had been promised. As such many people saw it as the nail in the coffin of the Alien franchise in video-games. Which made the rumours of Alien: Isolation all the more surprising when they began to emerge several months ago.
Today the title was officially unveiled with a trailer and several websites detailing hands on time they had spent with the game.
Probably the first point to make is that first and foremost this is a game based on the movie Alien, not Aliens. With a focus on creating a tense and terrifying experience, developers Creative Assembly (Best known for the Total War strategy games) are creating a game that has more in common with horror hits like Amnesia and Slender than anything else.
The player takes on the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter of the films primary protagonist Ellen Ripley, as she searches for the whereabouts of her mother. Not much else is known about the plot at this point, but she somehow finds herself on a ship with a Xenomorph loose aboard. The aim of the game is to escape from the ship and the creature, while presumably discovering more of Ripley’s fate.
Perhaps most interestingly of all is the fact that there is only going to be one Alien in the entire game. Where previous games based on the franchise have thrown waves of the Xenomorphs at a fully armed player, Isolation instead focuses on one, highly dangerous threat. Amanda has no real weapons to speak of, instead relying on what implements she can find or craft as she makes her way through the game. This makes that one Alien extremely dangerous and the best tactic is one of avoidance, so expect to spend lots of time peeking round corners and hiding in lockers.
The Alien franchise has never had an exceptional game based on it. There have been some good games and some horrendous games, but Isolation is currently making all the right noises. If Creative Assembly can live up to this early promise and indeed take the franchise back to its horror roots they may have finally given the movies a game to be proud of.
Alien: Isolation is currently set for a Late 2014 release on all major formats.